Taliban Captures Kabul

On 15th August Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul, promised to not use any force but it all lead to panic among the residents. In a nationwide offensive that has taken just over a week, the Taliban has defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from the country, even though they had some air support from the U.S. military.

On Sunday, they reached Kabul. Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press that the Taliban were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital. Later, Afghan forces at Bagram air base, home to a prison housing 5,000 inmates, surrendered to the Taliban, according to Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi. The prison housed both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters.

Kabul was gripped by panic. Helicopters raced overhead throughout the day to evacuate personnel from the US Embassy. Smoke rose near the compound as staff destroyed important documents, and the American flag was lowered. Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out.

The residents fear that Taliban might impose some brutal rules, eliminate women rights. Therefore they are leaving for the airport which lead to a great chaos there. Though the Taliban had promised a peaceful transition, the US Embassy suspended operations and warned Americans late in the day to shelter in place and not try to get to the airport. Commercial flights were suspended after sporadic gunfire erupted at the Kabul airport, according to two senior US military officials. Evacuations continued on military flights, but the halt to commercial traffic closed off one of the last routes available for fleeing Afghans.

It remained unclear when that transfer would take place and who among the Taliban was negotiating. The negotiators on the government side included former president Hamid Karzai, leader of Hizb-e-Islami political and paramilitary group Gulbudin Hekmatyar, and Abdullah, who has been a vocal critic of Ghani.

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